Leaving Tampa Bay

Hi All~


I know you are all waiting with bated breath to read about the ?True Adventures of the Crew Aboard the S/V WindigoIII, 2006 Edition?, but as we just left the marina on the 29th of May, the adventure has just been restarted. So as I promised, here is the recap of our activities for the last year-and-a-half.


One of the first projects tackled after repairing the mast and other hurricane damage from Charley was to rebuild Pedigo, our dinghy. It was completely dismantled, repainted, and reassembled with improvements throughout. Later, a welding repair was made to a seat for Pedigo. This welding was done aboard Windigo at anchor under battery/inverter power. This successful test assured me that any type of welding could be accomplished at sea. One last addition to the equipment for Pedigo is a kiteboarding kite. It will be a blast downwind once I learn to fly it proficiently.


I haven?t kept up the huge cycling miles as I had the first 18 months here in Pinellas County (17,000), but had added several thousand more before giving up the bike for modifications and alignment for four months [in which I gained thirty pounds! [15 of those are gone . . .]. Karin has been cycling right along and accumulated almost 10,000 miles here in Tampa Bay. Major changes in the Moultons have been new rear wheels based on custom Profile hubs. (Profile is a well-known family-owned BMX component manufacturer in St. Pete) Cory modified some very cool monster hubs to run our 9-speed cassette spacing. They have 36 holes and 6 internal bearings, and are machined out of a giant piece of aluminum. Bulletproof wheels are what they made. I have added carbon aero bars to my Moulton which now resembles the riding position on the Dream Police series of bikes I used in my former life to break world records. Reliable, dampened front shock lockouts were added. We have reverted back to Dura Ace brakes as the hydraulic ones were worn to unusability.


Oh yeah, Karin was hit by a truck while cycling.


The sun went totally RED for about a week because of a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert in July 2005. How cool is that?


Karenia Brevus (tiny Karin?), a obscure algae, bloomed in the Gulf of Mexico for the ENTIRE year in 2005. Usually, the occasional red tide erupts for a week or two and causes some tiny species discomfort before receding back from shore. This extended occurrence raged up the food chain until sailcatfish by the tens-of-thousands covered Boca Ciega Bay during one of my classes. They had to be shoveled from beaches from Anna Maria to Clearwater with SNOWSHOVELS! I saw a Goliath Grouper weighing a few hundred pounds bloated and washed into the North Yacht Basin in St.Pete. Even mammals, such as manatees, suffered. Unprecedented; And undoubtedly due to the incredible massive development of the coast.


Pinellas County ?accidentally? dumps millions of gallons of raw effluent into Tampa, Boca Ciega, and Clearwater Bays every few months because of the failure of antiquated sewage plumbing.


And Clearwater Beach, realizing too much development has already occurred, passed an ordinance putting a moratorium on building permits. Lot of good of did - in the 6 weeks prior to the law going into effect developers filled over 250 permits. Virtually every square-foot of available (and some unavailable) land on Clearwater Beach is permitted and scheduled for construction in the next 5 years. 15 new condo-cities went up in the last 2 years. 40 more are underway. The huge Holiday Inn SunSpree is being demolished right now. Even the Chart House Suites, where Windigo moored for the last 2 years, is being sold out as condos (starting at $1.4million for a 600 square-foot unit). The entire beach is a giant construction site; so much for tourism.


We are not leaving one minute too soon.


We floated around the Gulf of Mexico last August for three days to watch the Persoid meteor shower. Nice.


Then I went out to Vegas to visit my Mom and sisters. My Mom & I drove to LA and spent a few days with my grandson & brand new granddaughter. Wanna see pictures? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

During our drive from Nevada to California, my Mom & I noticed cool vehicles off-road racing just south of the freeway. I mentioned that this was the area used for the robot vehicle races, but little did I know that we saw THE $2million event!

Then Karin?s brother came out on Windigo and I married him. No, no, no ? I married him TO his Nancy! Much eating and drinking followed.


Then the Bales came and we went out sailing all the way up to Anclote Key & back.


Then the Baims came and we went aground for four hours at the entrance to our marina. When we finally kedged off, we went to the pool for the rest of the day. A couple days later, we went sailing on a Sunsail boat (where I work).


Then Jim Kasdorf came and we went out sailing. Another day, Jim & I took Pedigo around Clearwater Bay.


On April Fools Day weekend, we went for a trawler voyage with the Thompsons down to Cortez with a stop in the Manatee River.


During the last few months here we took advantage of health insurance to get tuned up. Morton?s Neuroma, Trigger Finger, osteoporosis, kidney stones, dental work, and a dense hyaline ophthalmologic opacity were all treated prior to departing. (Only the eye floater was mine!)


I accomplished several deliveries and continued teaching for two sailing schools along with private lessons. To date, I have instilled safety and proper efficient sailing techniques in well over 200 students. I made a single-handed delivery from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands back to Sarasota, Florida on the Gulf side. I suppose the most interesting part of the nine-day voyage was the engine failure in a gale a few miles north of Cuba. [Needless to say, the Cuban Coast Guard was concerned when I got I within two miles from shore. I got it fixed and continued on without incident]


Karin had been at Encore Senior Village, an Alzheimer's residence in Clearwater for well over a year; and also ran the West Marine Express store all by herself every Sunday. Did I mention she did all this AND got hit by a truck?


Of course, living in Florida means tolerating the news. You know: the 2004 election. Carlie Brucia's brutal murder. Richard Henderson's Thanksgiving family-murdering spree. Terry Schivo's agonizing and drawn-out {legal}death. The Iraqi War "Central Command Scandal" (how 'bout the Iraqi War Scandal?) All this happened a few miles from Windigo. And you thought Charley wreaked havoc? I guess I don't have to explain why I DO NOT read or watch ANY news. EVER. If I get a hold of a newspaper, the only section worthy of perusal is the comics.


We are not leaving one minute too soon.


Speaking of storms, the other three storms that passed here in 2004 did not equal an unpredicted squall at 3 o'clock in the morning on December 26th. Yes, the same morning as the devastating tsunami. It blew 55 knots for almost and hour in the marina. And the whining about the 'hurricanes' that never came to Tampa Bay went on.


Then we had the storm season of 2005. Did you know there was no hurricane in New Orleans? Katrina's winds there barely reached 'tropical storm' intensity. I'm not saying there wasn't A hurricane - it just didn't HIT New Orleans. What happened in New Orleans was an infrastructure failure that was predicted in the 1970?s by the Army Corps of Engineers. They asked for money. A billion dollars! They were told it was too much. More development erased wetlands and made billions. Then they asked for the money again. And again. Developers took the last wetlands that would provide some protection and turned it into billions. But not for the Corps. It seems our system has better lobbying for the rich developers than for the resources to protect and provide for the common citizens.


We are not leaving one minute too soon.


In 2005, more storms formed in storm season. Duh. Did you know that we are in a cycle that is causing this? It is called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. It has been happening for longer than recorded history, although there are some nuts out there that think our "development" has affected this natural cycle. Do you think? It simply amazes me to ponder the adverse DAILY effects the human factor makes on the planet. You mean we can?t keep using asbestos? But it is the miracle mineral! I digress.


Fact is: this is just the start of 15-to-25 or more years of increased cyclonic disturbances. So deal with it!


We do not deal well. Last year Hurricane Dennis passed Tampa Bay 200 miles out in the Gulf. Actual wind from Dennis itself was no more than a breezy afternoon, but a Dennis-spurred storm raged in Tampa Bay for two days. It so happened I was teaching an advanced class those two days, and the wind blew gale-force the entire time; Never less than 40 knots. Even though this isn't even close to a hurricane, the regular 1-meter seas came into the North Yacht Basin in St.Pete at exactly the right angle to destroy the marina at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort Hotel. 5-diamond accommodations. $80/night dockage. The small regular waves for 36+ hours tore up the concrete pilings and floating docks. Yours truly was crawling around on sections of dock bobbing around as so many icebergs with chain a rope trying to keep sections from floating away or smashing into docked boats. I have no doubt that I have seen the most dangerous place to be in a hurricane.


We are not leaving one minute too soon.


Actually, Pinellas County is an incredibly safe place to be in hurricane season. The Government began recording details of hurricane activity in 1850, but if you include the well-known hurricane in 1848 that created John?s Pass, there have been five hurricanes in Pinellas County. Yeah, five. But you know how people wish to blame everything else for their problems? Other people are usually targets, but the ?government? and the forces of nature have been popular lately. Not that the government doesn?t put a concerted effort into trying to scare the peoples. The ?shark attack? thing has me laughing lately. Annually, 8 people die from shark incidents. Sharks eat fish; they simply do not ?want? to eat people. The deaths attributed to sharks are but accidents. But an accident with a creature that hasn?t evolved in 250 million years ago ?cause it was a perfect killing machine back then is sometimes fatal.

Falling coconuts kill TWENTY times as many people annually. My neck would get sore looking up all the time.

At least 12,000 people die annually from lightning events. Sorry, did I make you worry about something else?

Get the facts on any subject before making decisions. The Internet is a click away. Your library is down the street.


The philosophy aboard Windigo is simply that it isn?t worth ?worrying? about anything ? if you spend a reasonable amount of time preparing for likely events and a reasonable amount of caution for everything else, you may live your life to its fullest for the time you are given. The time you are given ain?t real long, and worrying does not extend it!


We are not leaving one minute too soon.


Our permanent and EXACT address:
Capt.KL & Karin Hughes
S/V WindigoIII ? PMB 365
88005 Overseas Hwy. #9
Islamorada, FL? 36033-3087


No more temporary addresses!


Go here to see where we are right now=


(Windigo is moving often!)


We have a phone: 272.458.2536

(It?s free on the weekends, that?s when we?ll call)

Text-only Email addresses aboard Windigo, checked often:

Email addresses checked when at a land-based computer:

And of course, the Windigo Travelogue Catalogue: